A Day Of Two Halves
Picture: Ben Lawers Trig and View Indicator
Seeing as Covid-19 has put a massive halt on any hiking I had planned and that this walk came up on my Facebook memories, I thought I would write a wee blog about it as it made me all nostalgic.
Two years ago, I decided that I would be doing my first multi munro walk.
Days before I was in full on planning mode, scouring all the maps and routes I could find trying to decide on which munros I would be undertaking.
Having decided upon Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers I had the rucksack packed the night before. Alarm was set for 05:30, as I love being one of the first on the hills, got up and had some breakfast to fuel my day ahead. Whilst having my coffee I looked out the window and my heart sank. It was raining, Not letting this put me off even if it did dampen my enthusiasm.
A wet day on the hills is better than a day stuck in!!
As I arrived at the Ben Lawers carpark, I was grateful that the rain had stopped but I had to content with dark low clouds. Visibility was seriously reduced and the threat of rain was still hanging in the air.
Picture: Sun Trying It's Best To Break Through
At the start of the walk is a nature reserve which was quite pleasant to walk through. It is owned by The National Trust for Scotland.
As I continued to climb in height, I could make out the sun trying to break through the clouds which was giving me hope. If I could see the sun at around 300m, would I have clear views at 900m??
Mother nature was teasing me, visibility changed constantly as I went and there was some light rain chucked in for fun.
BLLLLLUUUUEEEEE skies.... At about 750m I started to break out the cloud base and the views were totally worth it. I was on happy lad, since getting into munro bagging one of the things I have always wanted was to get above the clouds and witness a cloud inversion for myself.
One thing I didn't consider on that wet dreary morning was that I would be needing sun cream, this has now been added to my first-aid kit for future.
Once I was about 800m I was completely above the clouds and the sun was hot and the skies were blue.
Above the cloud base and I can see for miles.
The path to the top is there winding its way up the mountainside. My day just got 1000% better.
I think I stood for a good 15 minutes soaking in the sun and the views. It was definitely worth the early wet start.
An absolute still tranquillity sitting above the clouds taking a break, nobody is around and there is no noise, no distractions, just the moment.
The mind is as clear as it has ever been. It’s in the here and now, not thinking about course work deadlines, bills and all the other issues I was having at that point in my life.
Pictures: Beinn Ghlas Cains
If it wasn't for the GPS unit beeping at me I would have walked straight past the summit point for Beinn Ghlas. It stands at 1103m and can be easily missed.
Quick stop to take some photos and continue up the well developed track.
This has to be one of my favourite photos taken from the day. The path to the top is what I have named it and it currently sits on my kitchen wall as part of a feature wall of other photos.
The end is in sight. Two and a half hours up and I can see the final trig point of the day.
Sitting near the trig point is a view indictor but it was not much use to me as the low cloud base covered up most of the views it pointed out.
Ben Lawers stands at 942m and is Scotlands 10th highest munro.
I take the last few steps to reach the trig. I have to place my hand on the trig otherwise I haven't completed my walk. Weird I know but it's just what I do.
So now thats the two munros completed its time for lunch. Braw views sitting above the clouds were ruined by the onslaught of midges.
Picture: Trusty MSR Stove
Ended up not being able to eat my lunch and having to throw away my cup of tea as I was getting eaten alive and the midges and other beasties were all over my food and floating in my tea.
After having a swig of water from my water bladder ad having packed up all my equipment and rubbish (Leave No Trace) I headed back the way I came until I came to a fork in the track, consulting my map I saw that I could by-pass Beinn Ghlas.
On the way back I met the first person I would see that day. We stopped for a chat and he told me he was going on to the other munros in the area. I was immensely jealous at this point as the weather had improved so much. The low cloud base had disappeared.
I was blessed in the afternoon as the views were truly amazing
The views heading back to the carpark were so much better than the views going up.
I will be back to the Lawers range as there is another 3 munros in the area. Even considering doing the 5 munros in one go with the wife.